Friday, 25 February 2011

New French School Tops Out

Designed by Sidell Gibson Architects for The French Education Property Trust (FEPT), the New French School in London's Kentish Town, which is due to be completed in July 2011, reached a key milestone on Friday 11th February with its 'topping out' ceremony.

French Ambassador Maurice Gourdault-Montagne (centre) with Jean-Pierre Mustier (left) and Arnaud VaissiƩ (right), trustees of the FEPT.
The project, which was subject to listed building consent and full planning permission, involves a major conversion and extension of a three-storey, Grade II listed Victorian London Board School building to provide modern infant, primary and secondary school facilities for 700 pupils of the local, French speaking community.

The design entails an imaginative and sensitive reuse of the existing building (a traditional Victorian school construction of architectural and historic interest, first designed in 1874 by E R Robson) to meet essential current legislation for schools, including disabled access, means of escape requirements, environmental standards and sustainability.

New interventions include the expansion of the multi-use hall to accommodate dining for the whole school, self-contained entrance points and outside play areas for infant, primary and secondary pupils, glazed roof corridor link to single-storey playground changing room with toilet facilities and a new classroom block for secondary and infant pupils. The three school tiers will share a number of common facilities, such as the library, dining hall, etc.

A second phase, new build, three-storey teaching wing, due for completion in December 2011, will incorporate sustainably sourced timber cladding over a brick base, pitched roofs in black zinc panels and green roofs to single storey areas. Green roofs to the new classrooms will enhance rainwater retention, bio- diversity and heat and sound insulation. The building will be naturally ventilated with passive cooling utilising the internal thermal mass and is expected to achieve a BREEAM rating of Very Good.

The whole existing building envelope is improved thermally, by introducing window double-glazing, roof insulation, insulation on the inner face of external brickwork and ground floor slab insulation. Long life low energy lighting is provided throughout, switched and dimmed to daylight sensors. High efficiency gas boilers supplying energy saving low surface temperature convector heaters provide the primary heat source with hot water under floor heating coils in larger open plan spaces.

Richard Brearley, project director for Sidell Gibson, said: "The project is an exciting challenge to regenerate an unused Listed Victorian School integrated with imaginative contemporary architecture to serve the needs of the French community in London."

The project team comprises Sidell Gibson Architects, Fairhurst GGA structural consultants, Cundall M&E consultants and Beadmans project management and QS services.


The French Ambassador Maurice Gourdault-Montagne layed a brick as part of the ceremony.


Monday, 14 February 2011

BBC One London Inside Out visits Old Brewery Greenwich

BBC London's Inside Out programme went to Sidell Gibson's Discover Greenwich and had a look behind the scenes of Greenwich Meantime's micro brewery and investigated the history of brewing beer on this site.

Numerous shots of Sidell Gibson's three-storey high brewing tower and the re-furbished, re-waterproofed historic basement vaults including the old well head rediscovered during the project.